The unhappiest jobs in America

And you thought your job was bad. These 6 professions have been ranked the least satisfying -- based on factors such as growth potential and compensation -- by the people who do them.

 of 8
 of 8


Jun 26, 2012 11:05AM
Psych 101: Pay does not increase job satisfaction or happiness. I have been a teacher for nearly 20 years and have always found the pay to be adequate. Unhappiness in teaching comes from a nation of people who are not qualified to do our job, continually telling us how we are doing it wrong, while not having a clue how to do it right. The biggest farce in education is standardized testing and data collection. You cannot neatly package people into nice neat categories using statistics, no matter how much politicians and school administrators want to make it so. Everyone outside of the classroom seems obsessed with test scores and grades, but cannot be bothered to do any studies that show a correlation between the grades/scores and success as an adult. The problem? everyone has a different idea of what success is. Final thing for all of you "education reformers" out there, education does not come from the teacher, but from the student. Keep telling your kids how bad school and teachers are, and they will believe it.
Jun 26, 2012 11:03AM

I've read several of these comments pertaining to the subject and I found one very interesting aspect.  ATTITUDE!!!!


I've always found that if you have a good attitude about something you'll be able to overcome almost any challenge.  Be creative and turn that lemon into lemonade or if your not making progress adjust the sails a bit.  Remember, you only fail when you give up or do nothing but dwell on the negative.


If you do something in order to be appreciated or receive recognition you're always going to be unhappy.   The quality of your work is your personal signature so do things well for yourself first and you'll be surprised how much satisfaction you'll have along with the recognition that always seems to surface.

Jun 26, 2012 11:02AM

Of course teaching was ranked on this list!  First, teachers are underpaid.  Second, they have so much work and no one to help.  Third, they have so much to teach/cover and not enough time to do it.  Teachers have no freedom to teach, there is no creativity.  Instead they are given a script to read and students follow along.  And to top it off, many subjects such as art, music and physical education are being dropped.  How can a student really learn if they are cooped up in a classroom for 7 - 8 hours. 

Something else that hurts students is all of these standardized tests.  So much time is spent on preparing for all of these exams when teachers could be teaching material our kids really need.   

Jun 26, 2012 11:01AM

The MOST MSIERABLE gigs hands down have got to be anyone who is fortunate enough to be working as:


NYS US POSTAL SERVICE- At Post Office sites-not deliverers.

I have never seen any of these people smile- they look like they take classes in "NON customer service" -they are rude and nasty and nobody around here likes them.

They are the most miserable things I have ever experienced and make people feel like they walked into the Seinfeld "Soup Nazi" episode!

How does that happen in jobs these that people should be cartwheeling to every morning safe in the knowledge they have jobs for life -great benefits and retirement- pretty much unaccountable and totally untouchable?

Jun 26, 2012 10:59AM

Steelerman, I graduated summa cum laude, in education, taking hard classes that weren't required just to push myself. I did all that while working, being a mom and wife, and an active community member. Don't you dare say that most teachers took the easy way out!


My summers "off" are spent working on our curriculum programs such as reading and math, attending workshops (out of my own pocket) and taking classes (also out of my own pocket) to keep current with new teaching methods and best practice. During the school year I teach all day, with about 20 minutes for lunch, and then go home and grade papers for 2-3 hours a night. That's in addition to the regular mom/wife duties I have (laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, chauffering)


I have kids who come to school without having had breakfast--how can I possibly expect them to learn when they are so damn hungry? I keep granola bars and other food items, paid for by me, on hand so I can feed these children and give them a better chance of making it through the day. I have parents who can't be bothered to spend 20 minutes a night reading with their child, or checking their homework, or even reading the notes I send home.


The teachers I know are dedicated, educated, and the hardest-working people I know. We are shaping  your future through your children, but we are less-valued every day. No wonder some of the teachers I work with have seriously thought about a career change. "Welcome to WalMart" is a lot less stressful than "We are going to work on writing a three paragraph essay."  

Jun 26, 2012 10:58AM
I would say this is a lousy article, but an article has information...not just pictures.  If this is the quality of "writing" it takes to work for MSN, sign me up!  I'll get you a Pulitzer within a year!
Jun 26, 2012 10:58AM
I'm not suprised to see R.N.'s. I have been in nursing for 19 years and seriously burnt out. It has gotten so legally defensive with the paperwork and administration that is hard to do our jobs. Patients are demanding (not all but most) and their families are worse (usually). I miss the days when we felt appreciated. Now it seems everyone is looking for a reason to sue. Nurses are also notorious for backstabbing and nastiness with co-workers. It's ridiculous!
Jun 26, 2012 10:57AM

I am surprised teacher is not number 1! I concur with everything that has been written. What people know about teaching is what they hear from government, administrators, or union leadership (which does NOT equate to teachers....not the same thing). It used to be that a little admin was needed to run a district primarily to support students and teachers: NOW the students and teachers are there to support the political agendas of administrators. The ONLY ones who believe it is all about the kids are the teachers. That is why they work those long hours but cannot get involved in correcting all the problems - they don't have time. As for parents, they complain about how difficult it is raising their child: They should consider the fact that we teachers have approximately 150 of "their child" to deal with every day. It is time for the following: (a) school districts stop buying into political and educational "agendas" of administrators and find support people; (b) school boards find a way to LISTEN to the teachers in a way that removes the very present teacher "fear" of retribution; (c) allow teachers to TEACH course curriculums and take away the additional administrative burdens; (d) totally remove administrative "meetings" that serve no other purpose than administrative "control" and self-importance; and (5) hold parents accountable for their children's education - WE only have them about 12% of the time; and (6) stop "socially promoting" students in the early elementary years forcing them to read, write, do math at grade level before moving on!!! The best teachers are leaving and I believe it is for one or several of the reasons I have mentioned.

Jun 26, 2012 10:56AM

I know why nurses are on the list, low pay, long hours, they do all the work, & the doctor gets all the credit.

Teachers are there because they so rarely get to teach. It's all record keeping now. Then they're supposed to use the "learning by rote" method, which teaches nothing. There used to be administrators, but budget cuts took them out, & reduced teacher pay to a national disgrace.

Sales jobs are there because of the economy. You can't sell anything when nobody's in a position to buy, but the "engineer" gets the blame anyway.  Unless he can shift it to the product or program, then those "engineers" get the blame.

Jun 26, 2012 10:54AM



Really????  What exactly is your profession or do you have one?  I suppose you don't give any credit to the teachers you had who made it possible for you to get that career?  I taught for 17 years and am now working as a Training Coordinator for an Engineering Company.  The job I have now pays better and is unbelievably less stressful than when I taught.  You remind me of some of the idiots that get their "alternative certification" and think they know how to teach.  They usually last less than a month!  Here's some advice:  Spend one month in a classroom by volunteering to substitute teach (I'm sure you'll love that paycheck!) then come back on here and complain about teachers.  At least then you will have some knowledge and experience to back up what you are talking about.

Jun 26, 2012 10:54AM
I'm a Special Education teacher in a tough area of the country. My job is not always easy. I got into this because I saw the need to reach kids before they got in trouble as juveniles and because I love kids. They deserve a chance. Those children with positive, caring parents are probably going to do fine wherever they are. Those children without positive influences may not make it without caring adults in their lives to encourage them. That is why I do what I do.
I agree that your work is what you make it. If you go into a job with a bad attitude, you will probably be miserable. If you go into it to do your best and cause positive change, you will probably be rewarded.
Don't bash teachers. It's easy to think you could do better than us, but until you're in the trenches, you're just talking out the side of your mouth. Have some respect; teach your children to respect. You may be surprised at what happens.

Jun 26, 2012 10:53AM
I am a teacher and a registered nurse and I love my jobs!
Jun 26, 2012 10:50AM
I, for one, am VERY proud to be a teacher. It allowed me the opportunity to start a career teaching abroad and living a fantastic lifestyle, including FREE housing, tax free salary, and I receive the respect I deserve as an educator!!! Teaching isn't the problem, it's teaching in AMERICA!!!!!
Jun 26, 2012 10:49AM
May I suggest that if a teacher does not want to teach, that it is time to leave the profession, and let someone who has a real vocation for teaching be hired for the job.  We all need a decent salary, which is available in many areas of employment.  Please do not stay and give your students a poor education; do not destroy their desire to learn and understand.  Let the students be inspired by someone who has enthusiasm for the subject, and who likes being in the classroom with people who need their guidance and knowledge. 
Jun 26, 2012 10:49AM

This is a poorly presented 'article'.  It 'shows' the unhappiest jobs, like a child's picture book, but doesn't explain why the jobs are unhappy?  For instance, perhaps the reporter should have explained in detail why teacher jobs are unhappy..perhaps because they are underpaid? that they no longer 'teach' but train students most of the year to take a standardized the school will get money and the teacher 'might' recieve a small pay increase?  Are they public school teachers?  Same goes for RN's etc.


Redo this article with some insight...or add e-news writer to the list ! 

Jun 26, 2012 10:49AM
Why didn't you specify video?  Mine's not working and I don't have a job, so I can't afford to fix it.
Jun 26, 2012 10:47AM

Reasons why retail/customer service is THE worst job in the world:


I've worked in call centers and retail. It is definitely time for a career change in my case. After ten years of "customers" yelling and screaming and complaining about things that the VERY low level employee has absolutely no control over; it's time for a change. You have to stand there and take it especially when they personally offend you and you cannot defend yourself. You work hard to the point it hurts you physically and to the powers that be and the "customer" -- that's not enough. I put quotations on the word "customer" because there are people who seek assistance for goods and services in a kind and decent manner and there are "customers." "Customers" are the ones who try to return things 3+ months after they bought it. "Customers" are the ones who demand you exchange their product way after the warranty expired." "Customers lie thinking your a stupid retail worker who has no ounce of intelligence. "Customers are the one who demand a discount when there is none to offer, because they feel they "deserve" it. Emergency Response personnel are needed 24/7; not retail workers. While Emergency Response works holidays taking care of those hurt and sick; retail workers have to deal with the savage behavior of irrational "customers" who will hurt anyone who takes a TV they want yet don't realize it's marked down because that TV is obselete and out of production. So, I ask to please realize that the cashier/salesperson has no authority to change policies that the higher management in corporate wrote. Realize when you stay beyond the closing time that the cashier/salesperson has a family to come home to and is being kept unpaid for that extra time. If you're gonna buy something be absolutely sure so you don't get tempted to return it after the 30 days. Realize that if your product brakes after the warranty expires; buy another one and take care of your stuff if you tend to mistreat them. Realize that an old model TV on black friday has been marked down way before black friday. Most of all be nice and respectful Yes, there are some who have a chip on their shoulder by nature but the majoirty of retail/customer service workers do not deserve to be disrespected. Treat others as you want to be treated.

Jun 26, 2012 10:46AM
I find it strange to find teaching on this list. There is nothing more satisfying and empowering than being able to make a positive difference in a students' life.  Maybe you do more pennypinching, but teachers are everyday heroes.
Jun 26, 2012 10:43AM

Hey,  I am a teacher and I LOVE IT!!!  I am a preschool teacher since 2005 and I had never being so happy. My kids are the light of the day!!! I disagree.


Jun 26, 2012 10:42AM

What a poor excuse for an article. I don't disagree with the rankings, but give us some kind of explanation as to why these jobs are unsatisfying. At least it's not another of MSN's attempts to get you to give bing as many hits as possible.

Sales Engineer, sounds pretty good to me. Want strife, try the low end sales job. Been doing them for 20+ years, can't get a respectable sales gig and can't get out either. I never hear a response when I send a resume for a non-sales position. The only companies that want to speak to you are these high turnover, revolving doors (most reps don't last very long past training), whose business model is to grind reps up and spit them out, and milk the clients you've generated long after you're gone.

When I started in sales, there was a base salary to compliment commision, car allowance and full bennies, and an understanding that sales are cyclical, and you are going to have some down cycles that will be tolerated until things start to swing your way again. That is unheard of now. Cutthroat "what have you done for me lately?" there's the door mentality, straight commission, car out of pocket and if you don't reach quota by months end, loss of benefits for 3 months. You read that right. No health care or retirement compensation for 3 months. This seems to be the standard anymore, it's just not my company.

I like to think of myself being ethical, but do you want to know why salespeople lie? Because we're lied to all day. It never ends. Our management, our co-workers who just view us as competition that needs to be eliminated, our clients. Oh clients, the best liars of all. "We love your product, company and you seem to be a real straight shooter, a regular Joe. So much better than the other vendors. It's a done deal". I've heard this on phone follow-up's 100's of times, and when I show up the next day for an agreement to be signed, they've already commited to another vendor. This happens constantly. So while you earn your salary to yank my chain, I've spent many hours in preparation and presentation, my gas, toll money and wear on my vehicle, to walk away making nothing. Worse than nothing. I'm now in the hole. And here comes another week with a marginal (or without, trust me, it happens) paycheck.

I don't think many can stomach it, and after all of the years of abuse, I'm certainly at my breaking point.

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.